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Niche sports boom in China
From sailing and paddleboarding to land-surfing and frisbee, China is experiencing something of a mini-boom in previously niche sports and leisure activities.
The pandemic and lockdowns have led to a renewed focus on wellbeing and health, particularly in an outdoor context. Social media has helped grow interest in new outdoor sports and leisure pursuits – and those with relatively low costs for entry have particularly benefited. In addition, some variety TV shows have picked up on novel sports as a way of attracting viewers. Marketers need to consider how they might tap into these trends.
Sales of imported skateboard categories on Tmall Global have increased by more than 100% year-on-year since January.
One Beijing-based land-surfing club reports a 40% year on year surge in new members in July alone; a leading brand suggests the land-surfing market could grow tenfold in 2022.
More than 200 universities have frisbee societies; sales of frisbee and associated products in 2021 exceeded Y 55m ($8.1m).
Feizhu, Alibaba Group's online travel booking platform, reported a 13x increase in bookings for hiking and climbing last year.
Around 50 coastal cities have launched sailing clubs; clubs are also being established at inland lakes.
“Not all popular sports on social media will develop. There will be fierce competition among emerging sports. The winner should have the ability to guarantee industrial supply chains, and effectively control the operating costs and marketing capabilities of enterprises, and the ability to respond to force majeure such as the epidemic” – Chen Jia, independent analyst.